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In The News/New Products

IN THE NEWS/NEW PRODUCTS

Optometry and Vision Science: April 2009 - Volume 86 - Issue 4 - p 408-410
doi: 10.1097/OPX.0b013e3181a2fe4d
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ACADEMY NEWS

Passing of Distinguished Centenarian Academy Fellow: Lois Bing, OD, FAAO

Recently, the Ohio State University College of Optometry announced the passing of one of its most distinguished graduates—Lois Bing'48. Dr Bing was elected as Honorary Life Fellow of the Academy in 1981 in recognition of her long-time membership in the Academy and the rendering of distinguished service to science and the art of optometry. In 1997, Dr Bing was the Carel C. Koch Memorial Medal Winner in recognition of her outstanding contributions to the enhancement and development of relationships between optometry and other professions.

After receiving her AB and teaching credential in 1931 from the College of Wooster, Dr. Bing earned her optometry degree in 1948 from Ohio State University. She continued her interest in education through graduate studies at Ohio State, Pittsburgh and Case Western Reserve Universities. In addition to running her private optometric practice in Cleveland, she participated in cross-sectional studies of the relationship of vision and reading. Dr. Bing also participated in studies of the relationship of strabismus and reading achievement and vision and school readiness.

Dr. Bing chaired the Visual Problems of Children and Youth Committee of the AOA from 1951 to 1963. During that time she prepared their report to the 1960 White House Conference on Children and Youth. She was a speaker for education to optometric audiences throughout the United States and founded the School Vision Forum.

In recognition of her work on vision and reading Dr. Bing was presented the Apollo Award for distinguished service by the AOA, and later inducted into the National Optometry Hall of Fame in 2001.

AOF Announces Vistakon Optometry Residency Awards

On February 18, 2009 VISTAKON and the AOF, announced recipients of the Dr. Terrance Ingraham Pediatric Optometry Residency Awards, the Dr. George W. Mertz Contact Lens Residency Awards, and the Dr. Sheldon Wechsler Contact Lens Residency Awards. Each will receive $4,000 toward their graduate education, including a $750 travel fellowship to attend the Annual Meeting of the AAO in Orlando, November 11 to 14, 2009.

The 2009 winners are:

Dr. Terrance Ingraham Pediatric Optometry Residency Awards

Catherine McDaniel, OD, MS

University of Houston College of Optometry

Aparna Raghuram, OD, PhD

New England College of Optometry

Dr. George W. Mertz Contact Lens Residency Awards

Gloria Chiu, OD

Southern California College of Optometry

Karen DeLoss, OD

University of Houston College of Optometry

Dr. Sheldon Wechsler Contact Lens Residency Awards

Kristine Dalton, OD

University of Waterloo, School of Optometry

Emily Kachinsky, OD, MS

New England College of Optometry

VISTAKON has proudly partnered with the AOF for over a decade, providing over 1 million dollars of support for scholarships, residency awards, fellowships, and research grants. “Through the support provided by VISTAKON, we are truly changing the future of optometry by supporting the education of our students and the advancement of research,” said Mark A. Bullimore, MCOptom, PhD, FAAO, Development Director, AOF.

ORGANIZATION & INSTITUTION NEWS

Open Your Eyes to Healthy Eating Habits

In honor of March's Save Your Vision Month, the AOA reminded Americans that caring for eyes includes paying attention to nutrition, pointing out that Millions of Americans Can Protect Against Eye Diseases by Eating Healthier. AOA reports that “approximately 43 million Americans suffer from age-related macular degeneration (AMD) or cataracts, the two leading causes of vision loss and blindness. Based on research from multiple studies, there is a strong correlation between good nutrition and the prevention of these age-related eye diseases.” They point out that eating foods rich in six nutrients—antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, essential fatty acids, vitamins C and E, and the mineral zinc helps protect eye sight and vision. “Basic and clinical research has shown that nutrients in eye-healthy foods can slow vision loss,” said Stuart Richer, OD, PhD, FAAO, optometrist and AOA's Vision and Nutrition Expert.

NIH Receives $10.4 Billion in Stimulus Funding

At a February 18, 2009 briefing by NIH Acting Director Raynard Kington, MD, PhD discussed plans to manage the $10.4 billion allocated to NIH under the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009, which President Obama had just signed into law.

The legislative allocation of the funds is to be as follows:

  • $8.2 billion for research priorities, of which $7.4 billion will be allocated to the Institutes and Centers and the Common Fund
  • $1 billion for renovating extramural research facilities
  • $300 million for shared instrumentation
  • $500 million for intramural building and facilities
  • $400 million for comparative effectiveness research

Numerous References to NEI-Funded Vision Research in NIH Biennial Report

In mid January 2009, the NIH posted on its Web site the Biennial Report of the Director, NIH, Fiscal Years 2006 and 2007. It replaces previous Institute- and Center-based reports.

Due to the relationship of the eye or visual processing to the body, as well as the collaborative nature of the National Eye Institute's (NEI) research with other Institutes and Centers within the NIH, the references to vision research are numerous and appear throughout the report. Areas of NEI research emphasized include:

Age-related macular degeneration

Age-Related Eye Disease Study, Part 2 (AREDS2), which follows up on the original AREDS study that demonstrated that antioxidant vitamin and mineral supplements reduced the progression to advanced AMD by 25%.

Dietary control of angiogenesis in the eye, which demonstrated that dietary intake of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids reduces harmful growth of new blood vessels (angiogenesis) in the eye.

Glaucoma

Factors that mediate nerve degeneration in glaucoma, specifically studies in mice that suggest a critical role for the protein tumor necrosis factor-alpha in developing glaucoma, which initially damages peripheral vision and leads to blindness.

Genetic Basis of Eye Disease

  • Gene Expression Nervous System Atlas (GENSAT) project, which prescreens the activity of many genes at four developmental time points in several parts of the brain and spinal cord. GENSAT is a resource within the NIH Neuroscience Blueprint that will expend to include nerve cells in the eye, ear, and pain pathways.
  • Gene Therapy for Leber's Congenital Amaurosis, in which human gene therapy trials are being conducted on humans after initial successful results in dogs.
  • Genome-wide association studies for AMD, which have linked two genes associated with progression to advanced AMD to increased risk from smoking and increased body weight.
  • National Ophthalmic Disease Genotyping Network (eyeGene), which is a network to conduct diagnostic genetic testing to facilitate research on the genetic basis of eye disease (more than 400 genes are associated with vision loss).

Diabetes

The Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research Network, a collaborative, nationwide, public-private network of researchers and clinicians at 165 sites conducting clinical research of diabetes-induced retinal disorders.

Laser Burn Injuries in One Eye Can Disrupt Protective Immune Privilege in Both Eyes

Late in February scientists at Schepens Eye Research Institute reported for the first time that a laser burn to one retina could cause both eyes to lose a special protective ability known as immune privilege. Immune privilege protects the eye without the inflammation of the body's normal immune response, which can further damage delicate eye tissue. This finding, published in the February 2009 American Journal of Pathology, has implications for treating patients with laser burns sustained on the battlefield and in other modern settings.

NEI May Get $175 Million From Economic Stimulus: Other Funding Opportunities for Vision Researchers

The NEI has issued an announcement regarding funding available from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which was signed by President Obama in February. This is posted in the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) Web site's dedicated economic stimulus section, which includes all documents relating to the $10.4 billion NIH funding level in the stimulus package. You can link to the NEI document at: http://www.eyeresearch.org/pdf/.

World Glaucoma Congress in Boston July 2009

Organizers for the upcoming World Glaucoma Congress in Boston July 8 to 11, 2009 report a substantial increase in interest in this meeting with an over 50% higher abstract submissions than the two prior meetings in Vienna and Singapore.

see: www.worldglaucoma.org

President Jimmy Carter Dedicates “Gift of Sight” Statue

At the end of January 2009, Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter dedicated the “Gift of Sight” statue in Illinois. The statue is a gift to Lions Clubs from The Carter Center. The bronze statue depicts a child leading a man blinded by river blindness. For hundreds of years, a child leading a blind elder has been the fate of families stricken with river blindness, or onchocerciasis, in Africa and Latin America. “Rosalynn and I have seen the devastating effects that blinding diseases have on individuals and their families. The Carter Center and Lions Clubs International Foundation, along with other vital partners, are working to preserve the vision of millions of people in Africa and the Americas,” said Carter Center Founder President Carter. “Thanks to these coordinated efforts, river blindness is nearly eliminated from the Western Hemisphere.”

AOA Doctors of Optometry Partner With FDA to Better Protect Contact Lens Wearers

The AOA recently co-sponsored a workshop with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Center for Devices and Radiological Health (FDA/CDRH) and other ophthalmic leaders. During the 2-day public event, industry leaders discussed test method parameters for evaluating the effectiveness of contact lens care products to protect against infections from the Acanthamoeba parasite, which is common to water and soil.

Current FDA testing fails to include the Acanthamoeba parasite as part of its standard testing process, despite numerous Acanthamoeba and Fusarium keratitis incidences among lens wearers in late 2006 and 2007. Attendee William Benjamin, OD, FAAO, member of the AOA's Commission on Ophthalmic Standards, noted “We encouraged the FDA to require products be tested under more realistic conditions, when feasible, and in situations where lens wearers are not compliant with a doctor's instructions.”

During the workshop, participants reached consensus on testing parameters and new criteria for disinfection efficacy test methods. Specifically, the working group found agreement on the particular Acanthamoeba parasite species and strains to test as well as an acceptable threshold for disinfection efficacy. The FDA has announced that it will release the results of the workshop on the FDA Center for Devices and Radiological Health Web site. In addition to the AOA and the FDA, workshop participants included representatives from the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the AAO, and the Contact Lens Association of Ophthalmologists.

Doctors of Optometry Cheer Obama's Call to Action on Children's Vision

In early February the AOA commended President Barack Obama for singling out the importance of eye and vision care when he signed an historic expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

“No child should be falling behind at school because he cannot hear the teacher or see the blackboard. I refuse to accept that millions of our children fail to reach their full potential because we fail to meet their basic needs,” said President Obama as he signed the bill into law during a White House ceremony.

The 4-year reauthorization of SCHIP, approved by Congress on January 29, 2009 will expand eligibility and funding to cover approximately 11 million children nationwide. Currently, SCHIP provides health coverage—including eye and vision care benefits set by the states—to about 7 million children of disadvantaged and low-income families. The reauthorization provides an additional $32.8 billion for children's health care over the next 4½ years.

Vision Researchers to Receive Six Department of Defense Grants

The NAEVR recently reported that the Department of Defense has selected six vision research projects as part of its FY2008 Peer-Reviewed Medical Research Program, a $50 million funding pool. The six grants include:

  • two of four Advanced Technology or Therapeutic Development Awards
  • two of four Clinical Trial Awards and
  • two of seven Translational Research Awards

“The fact that the vision research awards are primarily in clinical and translational research reflects their importance in addressing the immediate needs of our troops on the battlefield,” said NAEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky.

INDUSTRY NEWS

Vistakon Announces New Service

In mid February, VISTAKON announced the launch of ACUVUE DIRECT, a new service designed to enhance patient convenience, improve patients' compliance and drive health education. After signing up for the program at their provider's office, patients automatically receive a 3-month supply of their prescribed ACUVUE Brand Contact Lenses at quarterly intervals, along with a fresh contact lens case (case included only in 2-week lens wearers orders) to encourage good lens care habits, and a reminder about their wearing schedule. During the final shipment the patient is prompted to return back to their provider's office for an annual exam. Each month, participating doctors receive a report and invoice for the lenses that were shipped out that month, notice of cancelled or postponed orders, and a list of patients nearing their prescription expiration. Although patients can postpone a shipment, they cannot order any lenses beyond the expiration of their prescription.

SOLX Announces 1000th Gold Shunt Implantation for Glaucoma Treatment

In mid February SOLX, announced that it has surpassed 1000 implantation procedures with its proprietary SOLX Gold Shunt, a drainage device that reduces intraocular pressure for the treatment of glaucoma. The 1000 patients were treated in the European Union where the device has received CE Mark approval.

Florida's Baby Boomers and Seniors Are Target Audiences

On February 4, 2009 Bausch & Lomb, announced that a new advertising campaign has been launched in six Florida markets that will educate baby boomers and seniors about Crystalens, the only FDA-approved accommodating intraocular lens.

© 2009 American Academy of Optometry